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Monday, June 18, 2012

Just Completed: The Mandrakes

Hey there Chaos people! I'm back with a painting update. I have been a busy guy, currently working on several projects at once. Now, this keeps me excited and energized, but it also means that I have a lot of stuff that is being worked on, but not finished. I have my super-duper big secret project, but I've decided to wait on that until I've cleared the rest of the stuff I currently have on my work table. Then, I have  other top secret projects going too, in fact these next few photos reveal hints of them (just look carefully).

With the new 6th edition coming upon us, and hopefully a new, improved, and awesome Chaos Codex following thereafter, it is exciting times for 40K players and the Chaos Corner. I can't wait to get my hands on the new rules and Chaos goodies. However, I still have a ton of Dark Eldar models to complete. So, before the new Chaos book is unleashed, I decided to really go after the Dark Eldar. I may not finish every sing one (who can really finish an army, after all? My friend Pete says that there is a Warhammer myth/ability- one cannot die if they have models they're working on, so I should be good for quite a while).

In any case, I have just completed a set of 5 Mandrakes. Now, of all the finecast I bought these past few months, these were of the poorest quality. The rest of my finecast purchases have pleased me with their sharp looks and excellent model-ability. They just go together so much better than the metals. However, the Mandrakes I got (an initial batch, as I bought them when they first came out as finecast. They were warped, damaged, their slotters either broke or were hopelessly deformed. I think finecast is a good product overall, but these Mandrakes were exhibit "A" for the problems of finecast.

I had been so discouraged after putting them together that I simply put them away and forgot about them. I have painted a ton in the meantime. Then, I recently saw the Mandrakes in my army tray, and I said to myself- "If you're going to make more headway on the Dark Eldar, these should be tackled".

So, I began to think about color schemes. My old, old, old metal Mandrakes looked like this (bottom right corner of the pic):

My painting has come a long way since 2001
So, I wanted to pay homage to my old scheme, while also reflecting my current scheme. That, and I love the new background of the Mandrakes as beings of cold shadow, "unlight given life". With that as my inspiration, I decided to make the skin of the Mandrakes black (used Abbadon Black) and off-white hair as contrast (Longbeard dry).

Too bad that Khorne Bezerker can't see in the shadows- he is being stalked!

The flames and runes I decided to do with Khorne Red, followed by a wash of Charrbourg Crimson. Then, I used Wazdakka Red and Kindleflame as highlights for their flames. It is fire, but a cold, icy fire; totally unnatural Balefire. Looking at their bodies, the black and red go with the rest of my Dark Eldar, but in a nasty, unreal way.

"Mandrakes exist both in reality and a cursed otherworld..."

Their cloaks I painted Macharius Standard Grey, which was then washed in Nuln Oil. I followed that with a few highlights of Stormvermin Fur. Thus, the cloaks look dingy, dirty grey. Yes, the Codex describes their cloaks as being the skin of those that betrayed the Mandrakes, but I figure, after going in and out of shadows for so long, the flesh has long since degraded, taking on the aspect of shadows themselves.

"...to fight them is to fight living shadow"

Finally, basing the Mandrakes I decided to go a different route- I used Astrogranite Texture and again Longbeard Dry as the highlight. Why the change? I wanted to show that the Mandrakes had drained all color from their surroundings- sucking it dry. The base rim I did Steel Legion Drab in order to keep them tied into my DE base scheme somehow.

The warped blades add to the unreality of the models


But, what of the warped weapons, you ask? I left them that way. I decided that I would use the finecast problem to my advantage. Since these things are coming through shadows and all, it would be fitting if they AND their weapons seemed to be here but not here all at the same time- flickering in and out of the light/reality. So, the bent/warped weapons actually give them that appearance. I used Khorne Red again for the handles, and did a very light Necron Compound over the black blades, again aiding the appearance of a shadow becoming real.

So, that's about it for the Mandrakes. I have never used them before, so I'll let you know if they are effective. I'll be back soon with another posting of stuff that I am completing. Until next time...

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